Goat Abortion 101

We recently dealt with our newest goat, who had only arrived 3 days earlier, aborting in her last month of pregnancy.  It was a VERY sad day on the farm. She had triplets, exactly 4 weeks early. Having not get gotten the experience I was so looking forward to in goat birthing, I was left to figure it all out, and QUICK!

So I want to share with you what we did that day and the days following her abortion so if this happens to you (I hope it doesn’t) you might be a little better off than we were.

First of all I should mention it was a Saturday so I was at work, the animal hospital, and got a phone call from my brother saying that Emmy was having her babies. My brother is a 18 year old boy, so that was the extent of the information he knew and could relay to me. So I left work and drove home weighing the possibilities; emmy was bred a month earlier than her previous owners thought, or she was giving birth very premature. I hoped for the first but soon learned the truth. Emmy had given birth to two of her babies before I arrived and while one had been alive when it first came out it didn’t last more than a few minutes due to the fact that the lungs were so underdeveloped. Then she had the last baby which was not alive either. At this point I was on the phone with a local large animal vet that told me to break the sack around the third baby and get it out which I did, and that was the end of the birth. It all lasted about 45 minutes from first baby to the last.

After the last baby came out that sack and the afterbirth took between 48 and 72 hours to be fully expelled. This is not uncommon in abortions and your goat is going to need your help doing this! Here are a few things to note about the afterbirth.

  • The afterbirth can take longer to be expelled in abortion cases and you shouldn’t worry to much for the first few days.
  • Oxytocin is released into a goats system when her babies nurse and this helps contract the uterus and therefor push the afterbirth out. But when she loses her babies she doesn’t have this naturally occurring in her body so she is going to need injections of it. I gave 1/2 ml subcutaneously every 8 hours until it was expelled. I was able to get this from the clinic I worked at but you can probably ask a vet in your area assuming you are in good standing with them.
  • The large animal vet also told me to put her on an antibiotic for the next few days to cover our bases. Because I had some at my disposal at my clinic I used a slightly less conventional one but definitely recommend using something!
  • I read lots of things online during this time that said “tie it in a knot” or “attatch 5 pounds to it”….don’t do these things. This is a natural process that will happen on its own, if it does not, you have another issue and it’s not that you didn’t attach a dumbell to your goat.
  • The vet did however advise me, after a few days of it hanging around, to try and help it along. This was done NOT by pulling, but by gently and firmly lifting it upward toward the tail to allow it to move if it is anchored in there. Don’t worry if nothing happens, but it is worth a try.

In addition to the oxytocin and the antibiotic I also gave Emmy daily injections of a fortified B vitamin complex. I found the bottle at tractor supply and it made a big difference in her energy level! I gave 4 mls a day subcutaneosly. I know that some people give this IM but I didn’t have anyone to help me therefore that was out of the question! I also gave her a dose of Probios to help keep her digestion in check as her food consumption dropped a bit the second day. This is given orally, so good luck with that!

And because she was pretty far along she had come into milk already so I milked her morning and night as I still do and she has turned out to be a fantastic milker!

The entire process was sad, frustrating, and stressful at times. Having a good relationship with one or more vets in your area is always a good idea and remember that no matter how sad or frustrated you are, your goat needs you to care for her and do the best you can!

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